Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Luna di sangue (Escape from Death) (1989)

Luna di sangue (Escape from Death) (1989) is another Italian film in the “Lucio Fulci presents” series, produced by Antonio Lucidi and Luigi Nannerini.  Luna was written by Enzo Milioni and Giovanni Simonelli and directed by Milioni.  Its primary attraction are the several notable actresses, such as Zora Kerova, Jessica Moore, Pamela Prati, and Annie Belle.  Please be advised that I viewed the film in the Italian language and am unable to comprehend it.  I figured this was going to be the only way to see Luna, as the Italian DVD is the only source with which I am familiar; and I doubt that this film ever had an English dub.  Therefore, I will sketch out what I can glean from the story, accurate representation or not.
Luna di sangue begins with the same murder that ends the film:  Larry Moffet (Alessandro Freyberger) is gunned down by a black-gloved assailant (whose identity is revealed in the final scene).  The action of the film begins when Ann Moffet (Barbara Blasko) views the corpse of a young man, recently murdered, in the horse stables of her property.  Dazed, she wanders to the front of the house where Mary (Kerova) is talking to Doctor Duvivier (Jacques Sernas).  Ann collapses, and the doctor tends to her.  Ann recovers slowly and becomes perturbed when Larry arrives at the house.  She apparently has no memory of him, despite pictures of herself and him strewn about the house.  Ann becomes distant from everyone.  At the end of the first act, Ann is brushing her teeth and maggots pour out of her toothpaste tube.  She crawls into her bedroom and dons her slippers one of which is filled with worms.  Too spooky.  During a later evening, she opens her bedroom door where she is greeting by a corpse with a bloody face.  Around the estate, other people are being murdered by a black-gloved killer.
As I have stated, the primary attraction of Luna di sangue are its actresses.  I have always thought that Zora Kerova is one of the most talented actresses to appear in Italian genre cinema; and perhaps ironically, she has appeared in some of the nastiest films to come from the genre:  La evase—Storie di sesso e di violenze (Escape from Women’ Prison) (1978), La ragazza del vagone letto (Terror Express) (1979), Anthropophagus (1980), Cannibal Ferox (1981), and finally, for example, Lo squartatore di New York (The New York Ripper) (1982).  Kerova appeared in other Lucidi/Nannerini productions of this period such as Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio (Touch of Death) (1988), Il fantasma di Sodoma (Sodoma’s Ghost) (1988), and Hansel e Gretel (1990) (The first two were directed by Lucio Fulci).  Kerova appears in the talkiest sequences in Luna, and I have no idea what the conversations were about.  She is very beautiful and gives a competent performance, but there is little for her to do here.  Jessica Moore plays Tania, a young mute woman who appears almost feral.  She will crawl on the floor and skitter away when asked to exit the room.  Moore is one of the sexiest actresses of Italian cinema of the 1980s.  She appeared in La monaca del peccato (Convent of Sinners) (1986); Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987); Non aver paura della zia Marta (The Murder Secret) (1988); Top Model (1988); Riflessi di luce (Reflections of Light) (1988); and finally, for example, Il fantasma di Sodoma (Sodoma’s Ghost) (1988).  In almost all of these films, Moore is typically cast in an erotic role, and in Luna, her role is not that different.  Her character, Tania, gets caught up in the murder-mystery plotline and she meets her death in the film’s nastiest gore sequence.  Pamela Prati appears in a couple of short scenes, unfortunately.  Annie Belle plays Brigitte in a small role:  her character is suspicious of Larry and she interjects herself into the mystery.  Her death scene appears on the cover of the Italian DVD.
Luna di sangue has short, nasty gore scenes; no tension; and a lot of conversation scenes.  Based upon the version that I have seen, I would be reticent to view an English version of the film.  I am really tempted to call Luna di sangue uninspired but a more apt description, often overused, is a missed opportunity.

1 comment:

Alex B. said...

Luna di sangue makes Red Monks look like The Beyond. Even if it was available in an english version it wouldn't gain many fans.